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The Church has from ancient times condemned this practice, as the indispensable Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) points out. Here’s what the Council of Trent had to say: “the detestable custom of duelling which the Devil had originated, in order to bring about at the same time the ruin of the soul and the violent death of the body, shall be entirely uprooted from Christian soil” (Sess XXIV, De reform, c. xix).

There is only one possible exception: where rulers duel instead of armies going to war–i.e., George Bush taking on Saddam Hussein at 20 paces instead of bombing downtown Baghdad.

11:46 am on March 3, 2004